Origins in Switzerland
After that first experience, many more artists and volunteers manifested their intention to join the CWBCH troupe! It’s been since then lots of actions that led to the invitation from the CWB International Federation to join as an official chapter in may 2017. Clowns Without Borders Switzerland was Officially Born.
Who we are:
Clowns Without Borders Switzerland is an association gathering performing artists, clowns, musicians, dancers, play workers, play specialists, social workers and intellectuals concerned by the world in which we live in. Inspired by the work of CWB International (www.cwb-international.org), we have as main objective to encounter populations, especially children in distress living in areas of crisis across the world. Throughout our interventions, we create spaces to heal from traumatic experiences caused by war or displacement, bringing laughter as a form of humanitarian aid to people living in the gravest, most disaster-stricken and war-torn zones of the world.
How we work
CWB-CH works in partnership with NGO’s and local associations who are in permanent contact with our target audience (refugee children and their families, soldier children, children victims of natural catastrophes, etc.). Despite the presence in the field of classic humanitarians, many of which will retreat after the big urgency passes, the management of these populations remains a constant challenge. Beyond all material liabilities, mental distress of these populations, particularly children, is especially important. The future is uncertain and all the usual references have disappeared. All familial and community links are put to the test. That is the hidden part of the urgency, the one we never see on the field but is still present in the collective mind.
CWB’s mission is to respond to that challenge: contributing to the re-creation of social connections, encouraging healthy childhood development, imposing specific types of positive dynamics through laughter and performance. With more than twenty years of experience as an international organization, we are more than convinced of the positive and long lasting impact this sort of humanitarian assistance originates face-to-face.
The Power of Laughter:
Children in areas of crisis need safe outlets for expression and emotional relief. Laughter and humor provide social, emotional, physical and cognitive benefits. Laughter itself can stabilize blood pressure, improve circulation, restore homeostasis (balance) and induce relaxation. Studies have found a positive correlation between laughter and an improvement in heart rate and respiration. Laughter can create a positive shift in self-concept or self-perspective and create behavioral changes through heightened feeling and emotion. Stress and anxiety negatively impact physical and mental health. When we experience positive emotions through laughter and play, endorphins are released, which reduce pain and generate feelings of wellness; relieving stress and anxiety in the body. Laughter is contagious, and being surrounded by an emotionally positive atmosphere generates a greater sense of human connection.
Laughter Is The Shortest Distance Between Two People!!!
Towards a Theater of Solidarity
When a group of artists from afar visit a Refugee center in Central Africa, or perform in what remains of a school in Nepal, they are giving a message much greater than just a fun show. They are saying “you are not alone, and the world has not forgotten you”. That’s one of the core values within the CWB Interventions. To all those populations living in anonymous places we offer a timeless space, out of the ordinary, and that happens by celebrating humanity through the true communion of a theatrical phenomenon, plenty of light, hope and joy, and by doing so, we vindicate the Access to Culture as one of the primary rights and needs of the people, as stated in the Fribourg declaration.
Code of Ethics:
The objective of this code is to provide a set of written guidelines for all clowns and artists who collaborate with Clowns Without Borders.
- The clown or collaborating artist will hold fundamental objectives to better the situation of children who live in crisis situations of whatever type (conflict, natural disaster, social inequalities, etc.) in any part of the world.
- The main beneficiaries of CWB projects are children living in situations of crisis and the clown or collaborating artist will make no distinction between them for reasons of race, age, religion, culture, social situation or any other categorization when offering his/her work.
- For clowns and collaborating artists participating in CWB projects, volunteerism is the general rule.
- In respect to the clown/artist’s public image, he/she will not use the participation in humanitarian activities as a means to promote their professional career and must maintain a clear separation of such activities at all times.
- The clown or collaborating artist will not use their humanitarian activities to impart personal ‘points of view’ to the destination populations of the projects and will limit themselves to sharing their artistic activities. The artist will not attempt to “educate” the population and will refrain from sharing religious beliefs.
- The clown or collaborating artist, when choosing the contents of his/her performances and workshops, will consider the sensibilities of the destination population, taking into account their culture as well as the delicate situation in which they are living.
- The clown or collaborating artist when working with CWB projects sees and shares difficult situations. Their work does not end when they return home. They should testify in the measure possible all situations of injustice that they have witnessed.
- When participating in a project, during our performances and in our contact with the public, we remain clowns and artists, and this is the sole method with which we express and experience the validity of our actions.
- We remain vigilant and attentive that the name, logo, and identity of Clowns Without Borders, which will not be will not be used as a vehicle for remuneration.
- In the matter of seeking financial support, we remain attentive to the ethical values and the respect of human rights of our sponsors and partners.